When we think of great places for outdoor living spaces, warm, even tropical climates come to mind. But what many homeowners and builders in the Rockies are beginning to realize is that outdoor living is attainable even here in the mountains. In a place like Steamboat Springs, where favorable weather abounds nearly eight months of the year and there are few things residents love more than being outside, people are starting to reconsider the role outdoor spaces play.
Over the past few years, outdoor living spaces have grown in popularity. According to Chris Rhodes, CEO of Soda Mountain Construction and Design, “Outdoor living has become more relevant in design. In some cases, it’s become just as important as indoor living space.” Here in Steamboat, where locals take advantage of the beautiful surroundings year-round, people are starting to crave living spaces that do the same. Today’s outdoor spaces are more than just a place to grill and put a few patio chairs. They’re an extension of the home. They connect us to nature. And they increase a home’s living space, a big draw in an area where price per square foot is at a premium.
High up Buffalo Pass Road sits a home that takes the notion of outdoor living spaces to a new level. Built over 30 years ago, this mountain home has served the family well as a place to enjoy the solitude of Buffalo Pass and sweeping views of the valley. This year, the homeowners decided it was time for an upgrade. They wanted to modernize the property, take advantage of the beautiful surroundings and extend the home’s usable space. They hired Soda Mountain Construction and Design to turn their dream into reality.
The homeowners’ wish list was straightforward: a place for entertaining, a way to extend the living space, a spa and a way to enjoy the 270° views including Rocky Peak and the Flat Tops. Thanks to smart design and expert craftsmanship, this outdoor space has taken the notion of outdoor living from a nice-to-have to a new necessity. The design took what nature has provided and used it as a framework for the project.
When it comes to designing outdoor spaces, most homeowners are looking for three main elements: fire, water and relaxation. This home has all three, and then some. Spanning two levels and 1200sf, this prime entertaining space includes a 110” linear fireplace from Hot Stuff Hearth and Home, designed to keep family and friends toasty from cool summer evenings to frosty winter afternoons. And if the fireplace doesn’t warm them up, the custom Nespa spa will. The spa sits flush to the lower deck with a retractable cover to keep out the cold and the occasional wildlife. The lower level extends from the rec room, creating a seamless entertaining space for multiple generations. On the upper level, the deck is an inviting place to sit and relax before dinner and the vertical, low-profile railings offer an unobstructed view of the valley below.
One element that sets this project apart is the unique location. Nestled amongst aspens and evergreens and tucked in away from the road, the home is secluded but still accessible. It’s the perfect space to build an extension of the home into the natural environment. The only catch is that the property is located on the side of a mountain. Building on a jobsite like that is no easy feat when it comes to excavating, bringing in supplies and maintaining a safe jobsite. Unique locations present unique challenges, but as you sit in the serenity of the space you quickly realize the extra work was definitely worthwhile.
Making the space usable also meant making it low maintenance. The homeowners wanted to spend their time enjoying the space, not taking care of it. That’s where Soda Mountain’s design and sustainable materials came into play. Trex® decking eliminates the need for protecting the deck from the harsh mountain sun, while the black painted steel railings require no sanding or staining. Steel caps on the wooden posts allow the snow to melt without soaking into the wood. A beetle kill ceiling creates a soothing separation between levels. It all adds up to a space that the homeowners can easily enjoy for years to come.
A home doesn’t have to be in a tropical locale to boast an outdoor space that’s actually livable. With creative design, features suitable for the climate and quality craftsmanship, an outdoor space can become a comfortable yet functional extension of the home. It’s a space for family and friends to connect and appreciate their surroundings, or for a solitary escape. Either way, an outdoor living space is one more way to enjoy the beauty of the Yampa Valley.